Blacks and the Priesthood

October 25, 2021 04:21 PM MDT
In October 1971, Elders Gordon B. Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson, and Boyd K. Packer, under the direction of the First Presidency, established an official congregation of Latter-day Saints unlike any other the Church had ever seen or has seen since.
2 Min Read
February 06, 2021 01:00 PM MST
Marcus Martins was 19 years old in June 1978. He had no expectation of serving a mission because of the priesthood restriction that precluded him from doing so. But all of that changed on June 8th of that year when a friend in Utah called to tell the Martins family the amazing news that the Church had announced a revelation extending the priesthood to all worthy male members ages 12 and older, regardless of race or color. Just months later, Martins, who had been engaged to be married at the time of the revelation, entered the year-old Brazil Missionary Training Center and became the first Black missionary to serve after the announced revelation.
4 Min Read
October 20, 2020 11:51 PM MDT
On the debut episode of the Church News podcast, President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, recalled the moment President Spencer W. Kimball recommended that the priesthood be given to all worthy males. At the time, President Ballard was a young member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and all of the General Authorities were meeting on the fourth floor of the temple for their monthly meeting.
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February 03, 2020 05:59 PM MST
This story was originally published by LDS Living in May 2018.
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January 19, 2019 03:53 PM MST
In 1967, Isaac Thomas walked onto the Missouri Valley College campus on fraternity pledge night. As one of only 32 black students at the school, he stood out starkly, but, being an outgoing young man fresh from an all-black high school, Thomas didn’t think anything of it. He had never come face to face with the violence and hatred racism breeds—until that night.
10 Min Read
December 17, 2018 09:55 AM MST
Since becoming a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I’ve encountered a few cultural differences that took a little adjustment. For example, in the Baptist church, the same preacher delivers the sermon almost every Sunday, so it was strange to me that in this Church we didn’t have the same preacher every week. To make things even stranger, it was folks from the congregation that delivered the sermons!
3 Min Read
November 06, 2018 04:39 PM MST
When Harry Bailey Jr. learned from his bishop he could finally hold the priesthood after waiting a quarter of a century for the opportunity, he had his temple clothes already pressed and ready. “He told me once that if he could strip off his skin to hold the priesthood, he would,” Johanna Brutinell said. Learn more about how this amazing Latter-day Saint ministered to his community and remained faithful, despite racism and priesthood restrictions.
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June 13, 2018 02:22 PM MDT
Read the touching responses of black members of the LDS Church when they learned about the 1978 priesthood revelation by following the link below.
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June 12, 2018 01:49 PM MDT
“After the revelation, the gospel spread out everywhere across Brazil,” Elder Soares said. “We saw many cities being opened for the teaching of the gospel, and more and more people accepting the gospel.”
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June 08, 2018 03:21 PM MDT
Editor’s note: This article was originally published to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the revelation declaring that all worthy males, regardless of race, may receive the priesthood. We are sharing it again to mark the 40th anniversary and to celebrate the continuing growth of the Church in Africa.
14 Min Read
June 05, 2018 11:00 AM MDT
In 1967, Isaac Thomas walked onto the Missouri Valley College campus on fraternity pledge night. As one of only 32 black students at the school, he stood out starkly, but, being an outgoing young man fresh from an all-black high school, Thomas didn’t think anything of it. He had never come face to face with the violence and hatred racism breeds—until that night.
26 Min Read
June 03, 2018 10:31 PM MDT
During the Church's "Be One" event celebrating the 40th anniversary of the priesthood revelation, touching stories were shared of the black pioneers in the Church who remained faithful despite painful priesthood and temple restrictions. President Dallin H. Oaks acknowledged, “I observed the pain and frustration experienced by those who suffered these restrictions and those who criticized them and sought for reasons. I studied the reasons then being given and could not feel confirmation of the truth of any of them.” He also shared the touching moment when he sat down and cried for joy learning of the priesthood revelation. President Russell M. Nelson added, "Differences in culture, language, gender, race, and nationality fade into insignificance as the faithful enter the covenant path and come unto our beloved Redeemer." Read President Nelson's full remarks here, and President Oaks's full remarks here.
1 Min Read
June 01, 2018 12:39 PM MDT
June 8, 1978, is emblazoned into our collective memory as Latter-day Saints. Many of us identify with the sentiments of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who said, "I can remember exactly where I was. For us, that's the 'where we [were] when Kennedy was shot' [moment], this deep, deep, spiritual, emotional moment in the history of the Church."
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June 01, 2018 09:18 AM MDT
The Church’s history with race is complex and controversial. Here is a look at the priesthood and temple bans, the “curses” associated with dark skin, and the evolution of LDS beliefs and doctrine.
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May 31, 2018 03:28 PM MDT
The following is from the 2014 BYU Religious Education Student Symposium. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the revelation that extended the priesthood to black men in the Church, we wanted to share this article highlighting female black pioneers and their sacrifices for their faith.
2 Min Read
May 30, 2018 10:27 PM MDT
With the Church's special worldwide event on June 1to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1978 revelation on the priesthood, now is the perfect opportunity for parents to discuss the priesthood and temple ban with their children. We hope the following article will help facilitate this important discussion in LDS homes.
8 Min Read
May 28, 2018 12:01 PM MDT
A powerful article onlds.orgshares the faithful stories of black members of the Church and their experiences before and after the priesthood revelation in 1978. This is the story of the Martins family.
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May 15, 2018 06:08 PM MDT
The following article was written by Elder Fred A. “Tony” Parker and shared in a special Ensign issue celebrating the revelation extending the priesthood to all worthy male members in the Church.
1 Min Read
May 10, 2018 01:37 PM MDT
This story from Elder Edward Dube of the Seventy was published in a special edition of the Ensign celebrating the 40th anniversary of the priesthood revelation. Learn more about the Church's celebration here. As Elder Dube said, "The priesthood has blessed me and my family in every way possible. It has been a great strength to me to have the blessings of the temple, the blessing of knowing that we will live together as families for eternity."
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May 05, 2018 02:00 PM MDT
With the unprecedented LDS Church celebration "Be One" set for June 1 to commemorate the priesthood revelation, we wanted to share this thought-provoking essay.
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By  LDS Living
May 01, 2018 12:55 AM MDT
"I say unto you, be one," a new Church website reads, quoting Doctrine and Covenants 38:27.
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By  LDS Living
April 09, 2018 09:43 PM MDT
On June 1, 2018, a worldwide celebration will be held celebrating the 40 year anniversary of the 1978 revelation that extended the priesthood to all worthy male members of the Church. The First Presidency announced the celebration on April 9, which will be held in Salt Lake City.
1 Min Read
March 01, 2018 05:24 PM MST
After being arrested at age 14, Donald Kelly knew something needed to change in his life.
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February 28, 2018 01:21 PM MST
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the revelation on the priesthood in June 1978, which allowed all worthy black male Church members’ to have the priesthood. As we celebrate this event, let us learn more about our black brothers and sisters around the world.
1 Min Read
October 19, 2017 01:47 PM MDT
Burgess Owens played starting position for the Oakland Raiders when they won the Super Bowl in 1981. Just a year later, good LDS teammates and the feeling that there was “something missing” led Owens to meet with the missionaries.
1 Min Read
February 18, 2017 09:00 AM MST
"People expect Latter-day Saints to be a lot of things: white, rich, serious. They picture who they’ve seen in the media like Mitt Romney,” says Zandra Vranes, although then she adds, “But I’m black, broke, and funny, and I’m a Latter-day Saint too.” She and her longtime friend Tamu Smith are known as the Sistas in Zion: two soul sisters whose faith and humor unites them. Their shared mission? To provide “a relief from sobriety where hilarity never faileth.”
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February 09, 2017 08:24 PM MST
Recently, The Ringer featured Jabari Parker and his Mormon faith. Here are a few highlights from the article:
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January 02, 2017 11:18 AM MST
The following article, posted on lds.org, shares the story of six faithful black Latter-day Saints who were members of the Church when the priesthood ban was lifted.
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December 13, 2016 04:16 PM MST
African Americans have been members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints almost since its founding in 1830. Their numbers were initially small, but their role was significant. Green Flake, for example, Brigham Young’s driver and scout, was one of the first Mormon pioneers to reach the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.
2 Min Read
June 10, 2016 04:24 PM MDT
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints embraces the universal human family. Latter-day Saint scripture and teachings affirm that God loves all of His children and makes salvation available to all. God created the many diverse races and ethnicities and esteems them all equally," reads the opening to the Church's Gospel Topics Essay "Race and the Priesthood."
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October 13, 2015 05:36 PM MDT
Elder Joseph W. Sitati of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke at the “Black, White and Mormon” conference Friday, October 9, 2015, at the University of Utah on the topic of “Race and the International Church.” Elder Sitati, who is from Kenya, addressed self-reliance, race and the growth of the Church in Africa.
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October 09, 2015 02:59 PM MDT
Lester Bush said Thursday night he couldn't imagine the future positive historical developments for blacks in the LDS Church when he wrote his landmark 1973 history about the restriction on giving blacks the priesthood.
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October 01, 2015 03:30 PM MDT
MR says: See what interesting insights were added to the Church's in-depth essay which explores the role of race and the priesthood in our Church History.
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August 13, 2015 02:00 PM MDT
Freetown, like director Garrett Batty’s previous film, The Saratov Approach, will sufficiently terrify all mothers wanting to send their kids on a mission. It’s by no means a perfect film. It’s not even a great film. But it definitely is a good film, and an ambitious one at that, with beautiful scenes and a rather engaging story. The very fact that a small band of Utah filmmakers pulled off shooting a feature narrative in Africa, while also trying to tackle difficult subject matters that many of us would rather not face, is quite remarkable and worth the watch. Truth be told, it’s also the first time I’ve ever watched a film and had to google the words “cognitive dissonance.”
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January 20, 2014 09:49 AM MST
Editor's note: In an effort to ensure that we are sharing accurate information with our readers, we have removed this 2014 article due to a lack of reliable sources.
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December 10, 2013 05:37 AM MST
We all want to be good member missionaries, and usually we can answer questions about our religion without too much difficulty. But occasionally a particularly difficult question comes up. Thankfully, the Church is providing valuable resources and very recently released new topic pages to help with these challenging questions at the "Gospel Topics" section of LDS.org.
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March 22, 2012 12:45 PM MDT
As Mitt Romney’s status as the Republican presidential nominee is becoming more and more certain, Mormonism—Romney’s declared faith—is facing new scrutiny. Last month, a comment in the Washington Post by a Brigham Young University professor prompted an official Mormon Church statement clarifying its position on the historical priesthood ban on African-Americans, which was lifted in 1978. “We condemn racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church,” the statement read.
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March 12, 2012 03:43 PM MDT
A recent Washington Post article that discussed the origins and history of Mormonism’s racialized teachings and policies has caused quite a stir, launching important conversations. The article’s most controversial element was the inclusion of comments from BYU religion professor Randy Bott in which he denied that the former LDS ban on black persons holding the priesthood or participating in temple ordinances was racist, as God’s actions were for their benefit. They weren’t ready. Through these restrictions, God was acting as a loving parent, keeping them from having to live at a higher level than they were capable of doing. Church reaction was swift–a news release the next day completely distancing the Church’s position from the justification attempts of Professor Bott, and stating unequivocally that no one knows the reasons for the ban and the church does not sanction any attempts at explaining or justifying it.
1 Min Read
March 06, 2012 04:53 PM MST
While Mitt Romney, the leading contender for the Republican nomination for president, looks to lock up his nomination during the Super Tuesday Republican primary races, some members of the black community have concerns about Mormon literature that says "dark skinned people" are from "the seed of Cain." Yet Romney, who has said he is proud of his Mormon faith, said the doctrine in question has not been followed for years and was glad to see the change.
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March 06, 2012 04:46 PM MST
Over my head I see trouble in the air Over my head I see trouble in the air
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March 02, 2012 04:40 PM MST
Following is an official statement released by the Church on Feb. 29 titled, "The Church and Race: 'All Are Alike Unto God.' " The gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone. The Book of Mormon states, "black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God" (2 Nephi 26:33). This is the Church's official teaching.
1 Min Read
March 01, 2012 08:57 PM MST
By now the notion that we are in the midst of a Mormon moment is clichéd, although if Rick Santorum continues to threaten Mitt Romney in the GOP primaries, the public focus on the Latter-day Saints could fade. For the time being, however, my religion is being examined in the public square like never before. It can be an uncomfortable experience. Consider a recent Washington Post article on race and Mormonism. Before 1978, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints denied its priesthood, which is normally extended to all adult males, to black men. In examining the legacy of that ban, the Post interviewed Randy Bott, a religion professor at church-owned Brigham Young University.
1 Min Read
March 01, 2012 03:50 PM MST
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a forceful statement Wednesday condemning racism, "including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the church." The statement came in response to a Washington Post political story about Mitt Romney's run for the presidency and his faith's former ban on giving black men the priesthood. The story included reported comments from a popular BYU religion professor that included personal speculation about the former ban. Many Mormons were upset by Professor Randy Bott's reported comments and some considered them racist.
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March 01, 2012 03:16 PM MST
The Church issued the following statement today in response to news media requests: The positions attributed to BYU professor Randy Bott in a recent Washington Post article absolutely do not represent the teachings and doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. BYU faculty members do not speak for the Church. It is unfortunate that the Church was not given a chance to respond to what others said. ...
1 Min Read
February 29, 2012 03:52 PM MST
Comments made by a BYU Theology professor opening up old wounds about the LDS church’s policy on African Americans and priesthood. It was June 9th, 1978 when LDS President Spencer Kimball announced the church was opening its priesthood ranks to all worthy men. Some 30 years later the question why the church denied African Americans priesthood once again taking center stage because a Mormon is running for President.
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February 28, 2012 03:16 PM MST
On Dec. 25, 1964, as Mitt Romney enjoyed his last Christmas break as a high school student in Michigan, two Mormon missionaries visited Darius Gray in Colorado Springs and asked him if he had any last questions before joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He had one. A proud African American, Gray expressed wariness over a description in the Book of Mormon of a dark-skinned tribe being out of favor with God and asked, “How, in any way, does that relate to me?” The younger of the two missionaries stood off to the side as his senior companion explained, “‘Well, Brother Gray, the primary implication is that you won’t be able to hold the priesthood.’”
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